Lakers thwart off late push by Bulldogs for 58-54 victory

Photo Courtesy Sam Downs/ LSSU Public Relations
Photo Courtesy Sam Downs/ LSSU Public Relations

BIG RAPIDS, Mich. – Lake Superior  State women's basketball snapped an eight-game losing skid with a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory over Ferris State Thursday evening.

The Lakers (5-19, 3-14 GLIAC) overcame a three-point deficit after the first quarter to lead 21-19 at halftime. Junior center Tamara Novic led the way for LSSU with 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field and added eight rebounds in 15 minutes of first half action.

Out of the break, the Lakers captured a 7-0 run to start the third quarter while holding the Bulldogs (5-18, 4-13 GLIAC) scoreless through the first three minutes of the second half. During the run, senior guard Mackenzie Edwards hit her school-record 61st three-point field goal of the season, tying Monica Rehmann (2003-07) for second place with 174 career three-pointers made.

Following a 5-0 run by FSU to draw to within two points of the Lakers with 2:37 remaining in the third, the Lakers finished the period with three consecutive field goals made to take a 36-30 lead into the final 10 minutes.

After a Valerie Meissner three-pointer put the Lakers ahead 47-39 with 3:48 remaining in the game, the Bulldogs called a 30-second timeout and answered back with a 6-0 run, capped by Leah Humes' layup with 1:56 remaining.

With just 24 seconds remaining, Claire Radtke gave the Lakers a 51-47 lead by hitting one-of-two free throw attempts. Humes answered right away with a layup on the other end to pull the Bulldogs to within two points. Following an immediate foul on the ensuing inbound play, Meissner hit the front end of a pair of free throws but collected her own rebound on the second shot and again was immediately fouled by the Bulldogs to stop the clock.

The second time at the line, Meissner hit both free throws to give the Lakers a 54-49 lead with 13 seconds remaining. Two seconds later Humes cut the lead to 54-52 with a three-pointer and quickly sent Edwards to the line for a pair of free throws in an attempt to stretch out the final 11 seconds that much further.

Edwards calmly collected both free throws but the Bulldogs again scored on a quick layup at the other end. With five seconds left, Edwards hit another pair of free throws to give the Lakers a four-point advantage and ward off any further comeback bid from the Bulldogs.

Novic finished with her third double-double of the season, leading the Lakers with 18 points and 10 rebounds in 24 minutes off the bench. Meissner was the only LSSU starter to reach double digits in scoring with 10 points and collected a game-high seven assists.

Humes led the Bulldogs with 16 points, followed by Rachel McInerney's 15 points and game-high 11 rebounds.

The Lakers shot just 41.5 percent from the field (22-53) and 20 percent from behind the arc (3-15), but held the Bulldogs to 35.1 percent (20-57) from the field and 22.2 percent (2-9) from three-point range. Paced by Novic's effort, the LSSU bench outscored FSU, 20-10, and the Lakers held a slight 28-26 points in the paint advantage.

LSSU closes the weekend with a road trip to Grand Valley State at 1 p.m. on Saturday.